As Senate Democrats struggle to build support for new gun control legislation, the American Civil Liberties Union now says it’s among those who have “serious concerns” about the bill. (...)[Via Business Insider]
The inclusion of universal background checks — the poll-tested lynchpin of most Democratic proposals — “raises two significant concerns,” the ACLU’s Chris Calabrese told TheDC Wednesday.
Calabrese — a privacy lobbyist — was first careful to note that the ACLU doesn’t strictly oppose universal background checks for gun purchases. “If you’re going to require a background check, we think it should be effective,” Calabrese explained. (...)
Calabrese wouldn’t characterize the current legislation’s record-keeping provision as a “national gunregistry” — which the White House has denied pursuing — but he did say that such a registry could be “a second step.”
“[U]nfortunately, we have seen in the past that the creation of these types of records leads sometimes to the creation of government databases and collections of personal information on all of us,” Calabrese warned. “That’s not an inevitable result, but we have seen that happen in the past, certainly.”
“As we’ve seen with many large government databases, if you build it, they will come.” (...)
The ACLU’s second “significant concern” with Reid’s legislation is that it too broadly defines the term “transfer,” creating complicated criminal law that law-abiding Americans may unwittingly break.
“[I]t’s certainly a civil liberties concern,” Calabrese told TheDC. “You worry about, in essence, a criminal justice trap where a lawful gun owner who wants to obey the law inadvertently runs afoul of the criminal law.”
“They don’t intend to transfer a gun or they don’t think that’s what they’re doing, but under the law they can be defined as making a transfer. We think it’s important that anything that is tied to a criminal sanction be easy to understand and avoid allowing too much prosecutorial discretion.” (...)
Separate from the ACLU’s concerns with a universal background check system, Calabrese flagged another provision of the legislation invented by Sen. Boxer that the ACLU is “worried about” — school tiplines for the reporting of “potentially dangerous students”
“We’re worried about this tip line,” Calabrese admitted. “We think we already have a phone number for reporting dangerous situations — it’s called 9-1-1.”
“The tip line doesn’t have any guidance for who should be included, how we should vet these requests, who should be included in the system, what you should do with this information once you get it,” he warned. “It just seems like a dangerously unregulated avenue that’s going to risk pushing more kids into the criminal justice system.”
“What’s a school supposed to do if they get an anonymous phone call that some kid is dangerous?” Calabrese went on. “How are they supposed to treat that? Do they have liability if they ignore it? Should this kid be suspended? Or should he be scrutinized by a school safety officer because of an anonymous tip?”
“You could see how this could run amok very quickly. These are high schools. Lord knows, if you’re going to give a kid an anonymous opportunity to lash out at someone, you’re going to see a lot of problems.”
Thursday, April 04, 2013
Publicada por Miguel Madeira em 16:08